Samsung Wins KDDI Contract

Infrastructure vendor Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) appears to have won a monster $800 million network deal at KDDI Corp. for the supply of CDMA 1xEV-DO (Evolution, Data Only) Revision A kit.

Reports today state the vendor has secured a sole supplier equipment contract at Japan’s second largest carrier, with deliveries expected to begin March 2006.

Approved by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project 2 (3GPP2) Technical Specification Group, Revision A is a radio network upgrade to existing CDMA 1xEV-DO systems that are based on the earlier Release O standard (see 1xEV-DO Revision OK'd).

KDDI initially launched EV-DO Release O services in November 2003, and claims a total customer base of approximately 18 million (see KDDI 3G Launch WINs).

EV-DO Release O networks support average data rates of 300 to 500 kbit/s. The Revision A standard is intended to crank this rate up to a theoretical 3.1 Mbit/s.

Analysts claim Samsung’s win is evidence of a healthy future for Revision A kit. “Every CDMA operator doing EV-DO is clearly looking at Rev. A,” notes Current Analysis’s Peter Jarich. “But, the KDDI win is one of the first to put a clear date on when they expect to move ahead. Sprint has announced that it will have a 100 percent Rev. A overlay complete in the 2006-2007 timeframe, with push-to-talk over Rev. A planned in the 2007-2008 timeframe. With Sprint's statements coming at the end of 2004, it's clear that the Rev. A momentum is picking up.” (See Deal Solves Nextel 3G Dilemma.)

KDDI and Samsung were unavailable for comment at press time.

— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung

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